Valsad: General Motors India (GMI) has launched the "Opel Vectra", its premium D segment car in India, and has announced that it will launch more than two new vehicles next year.
Aditya Vij, president and managing director, GMI, said that the next launch from General Motors would come in the next 3-4 months.
The Opel Vectra is a notchback sedan equipped with a 2.2 litre Ecotec petrol engine having 147 bhp and an interactive driving system. It is being imported as a completely built unit (CBU) from Germany. The company said the car would be available with car dealers in India in about three weeks from now.
Following the launch of the petrol version, the company intends to offer a diesel variant of the vehicle and is considering launching an automatic variant as well.
Features of the Vectra include a pedal release system, full-size front and side airbags, and a four- channel ABS braking system with cornering brake control.
According to Mr Vij, the company will import Opel Vectra, described as a niche segment car, in the form of completely built up units for now. In the future as the `D' segment evolves, and when the company is able to sell 3,000 units of Vectra per year, it would consider bringing in completely knocked down (CKD) kits.
The company is also looking at widening the CBU portfolio to address a host of emerging segments like MUVs, he said.
Though the company has not announced the price of the vehicle, analysts estimate it to be Rs 16-18 lakh, which could make it the most expensive offering from General Motors in India.
GMI has identified 15 key dealers in a dozen towns to launch the first batch of Opel Vectra in the next three weeks.
The company has enhanced investment requirements for Vectra for car dealers who are expected to invest Rs 20-40 lakh in upgrading service facilities, in line with the company's specifications.
GMI offers three variants of Opel Astra, four variants of Corsa, two variants of Swing and now two variants of Vectra. It expects to sell 100 Vectras a month, which analysts say is not unduly optimistic as most D segment cars sell at around the same levels.
At present, the company is installing additional assembly lines at its Halol plant in Gujarat to increase capacity from the current 25,000 units to 50,000 units.
The luxury segment is estimated at 6,000 cars a year and is marked by the presence of cars like Hyundai Sonata, Honda Accord, Ford Mondeo, Mercedes-C-class and Toyota's Camry.
The premium sedan segment in India is only about 18 months old and is rapidly growing. All models in the segment are priced at over Rs 11 lakh. In the recent past, all the new cars launched in India have been in this segment.
GMI commenced its operations in India in 1996 but has only about 1.6 per cent share of the overall car market, although it has a stronger presence, with 10 per cent of the market share, in the mid-size segment.
Earlier in July this year, GM said it would outsource engines and transmissions from Hindustan Motors for a new vehicle it planned to launch locally and analysts conjecture this to be the Panther utility vehicle made in collaboration with its partner, Isuzu Motors.